Michelle Smith Tribute

Michelle Smith Tribute
By admin


A fun loving angel is how Perth travel agent Michelle Smith is remembered by her colleagues. Others have fond memories of her vivacious personality and infectious laughter, but all agree she will be sorely missed as they celebrate her life, which was cut short on an agent famil last month.

Michelle, a 60 year old mother of three, was the victim of a botched bag snatch during an Asia Escape Holidays trip to Phuket last month. Travelling with nine other agents in a popular tourist area, Michelle was stabbed as she bravely struggled with two men who attempted to snatch her bag. Labelled as a "random and opportunistic event", the attack has sent shockwaves through the industry as friends and colleagues struggle to come to terms with the tragic loss.

Within hours of the incident, the RAC Travel agency at Joondalup, where Michelle worked, was littered with flowers as friends and colleagues paid their respects. Touching tributes were equally quick to pour in as co-workers mourned Michelle's loss. Commenting on the Travel Weekly website, David Van Der Meer from Harvey World Travel South Perth wrote "she was an industry treasure", while others expressed shock that such a tragedy could occur on a famil. "Such a sad day. We go overseas for work, to inspect hotels, to see what we can offer our clients with confidence. This has saddened all WA travel agents and sales reps. RIP Michelle, you're going to be missed," wrote Angela Graham from Breakaway Travel in Western Australia.

REMEMBERING THE GOOD TIMES

Bringing modest relief to Michelle's family, two men were arrested and charged within a week of the attack after confessing to charges of robbery and murder. But rather than being consumed by notions of retribution, Michelle's loved ones have rallied together to celebrate her life.

Clynton Chatfield from RAC Travel West Perth, a colleague and close friend of Michelle's, said she would have wanted friends to celebrate her life, rather than mourn her loss. "She was always so full of life and such a fun loving lady. I have no doubt that Michelle would have put up a fight for her bag, but she wouldn't want people to dwell on what happened. She would want us to remember the good times," he said.

And that's exactly how Chatfield remembers his working years with Michelle, whose career in travel spanned 40 years. "Michelle loved what she did and the industry loved her," Chatfield said. "She had the gift of the gab and had clients following her wherever she went." Marco Appadoo, also from RAC Travel, couldn't agree more. After working side by side for 15 years, Appadoo said Michelle's passion for her beloved Fremantle Dockers football team was almost as strong as her love for the travel industry. "She was such a people person, and so full of laughter," he said. "She was my big sister, my angel, and I will miss her so much."

SAYING GOODBYE

Just six weeks after her 60th birthday, Michelle was laid to rest in a tearful ceremony in Pinaroo late last month. Attended by 550 friends and colleagues, emotions were mixed as Michelle's husband Geoff shared intimate memories of their 35 year marriage.

There were plenty of laughs as he recalled their latest New Zealand holiday, where Michelle ended up on the wrong plane while Geoff had stopped off for a brief toilet break. "She could send people half way around the world, but struggled on our own holiday," he quipped. Friends also shared memories of Michelle's partying antics, but there were just as many tears, as the funeral took place on the same day as her son's 27th birthday.

As the heartfelt service drew to a close, 200 red helium balloons were sent off as a token of Michelle's legacy. Celebrating a life ended too soon, the tears dried up as one balloon failed to rise, and onlookers were again reminded of Michelle – always last to leave the party.

Heartfelt tributes will undoubtedly continue to trickle through in the months following Michelle's death, but she will never be forgotten by her friends and colleagues. Farewell Michelle.

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